SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Those interested finally have a chance to catch the Royals on live television today — assuming they can tear themselves away from the NCAA basketball tournament.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
There’s a catch.
You must have MLB Network on your cable or satellite system.
If you do, you get the chance to watch James Shields pitch against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The game starts at 3:05 p.m. Central time. The Angels are starting lefty C.J. Wilson, who is unbeaten with a 2.91 ERA in 15 career games against the Royals.
Today’s game also offers the opportunity for a look at Luke Hochevar as a reliever, and Kelvin Herrera’s first outing for the Royals since March 2. Greg Holland, Aaron Crow and Francisley Bueno are also scheduled for work.
Here’s the lineup: LF Alex Gordon, SS Alcides Escobar, DH Billy Butler, 3B Mike Moustakas, C Salvy Perez, 1B Eric Hosmer, CF Lorenzo Cain, RF Jeff Francoeur and 2B Chris Getz.
With Shields on the mound, that could be the lineup that opens the season April 1 against the White Sox in Chicago.
Right-hander Luis Mendoza, meanwhile, continues his push to beat out Bruce Chen for the final spot in the rotation by pitching today in a minor-league game.
If you don’t have MLB Network, you still have two opportunities to catch the Royals on live TV prior to the start of the season. Fox Sports Kansas City is carrying two night games next week from Surprise Stadium: Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs. Both games start at 8:05 p.m. Central time.
The Royals, at 18-6-1, opened play Friday with a 1 ½-game lead over Seattle, 17-8, in the Cactus League standings. Cleveland, 15-9, was three games behind.
Keep those questions coming on twitter to @Royals_Report. Here is today’s exchange:
@Do you think at this point Donnie Joseph is a good bet to break camp with #Royals?
I think he’s in the running. The Royals could use a situational lefty in the bullpen, and the top two candidates are Joseph and Francisley Bueno. Of course, they could opt for another right-hander.
Tough to handicap at this point.
@limaboykc: who is likely to be added to roster to bring it to 40
There is no necessity to do so. It’s not like the 25-man active roster, which needs to be kept filled.
@Youth_Movement: Gotta tell ya it was much better when this was on twitter. I don’t read the link. Just 1 person’s opinion!
Lots of people didn’t like their twitter feed blowing up with a bunch of Q&As. That’s the main reason we switched. If you think it’s too much work to click the link, that’s your choice.
@SportsBuddaye: if Frenchy’s slide continues, who is the answer in RF this season? #Royals
First, the Royals aren’t close to that point. But if it gets to that point, the Royals have two likely in-house options: Put David Lough in right field; or shift Lorenzo Cain from center to right and put Jarrod Dyson in center.
There’s also a good chance they would look to acquire someone in trade.
@JGuarino24: how is Danny Duffy coming along with his recovery from tommy john? Do you see him apart of the rotation this yr?
He says he’s doing terrific and is still hoping to be ready to go by some point in June. The Royals are still say mid-July.
@davidwlowe: Which is the biggest factor for why Chen even has a job with the Rs: (a) his $4.5M contract, or (b) that he’s out of options?
The Royals would likely say neither and point to his 34-29 record since entering the rotation in late May 2010 for a team that lost at least 90 games in each of those three years.
@bradkharper: Have the players said that there’s a difference between the new batting coaches and Kevin Seitzer this year?
I haven’t really heard much on that, good or bad. Most guys are hitting well down here, but most guys hit really well down here a year ago.
Players seem to like Jack Maloof and Andre David, and there is certainly a familiarity factor for those who came through the farm system. But Kevin Seitzer was a popular hitting coach.
It will be interesting to see how this evolves once the season starts, i.e, when some guys go through major slumps and other perform above expectations. And both of those things will happen.
@57jmac: any SP with a shaky start to season, GMDM is calling Ventura up.
I doubt Yordano Ventura would be the first choice if the Royals need another starter early in the season. My guess is they would either shift someone out of the bullpen or call up Will Smith.
But if the need arises a few months into the season, who knows? Ventura could be a very attractive possibility at that point.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.